The people who attend this particular retreat seem to fall into two main categories....either they need a rest...a break from life...or.....they are stuck in some way, feel like they are caught between a rock and a hard place with a job or a relationship or some other situation.  If this applies to you, then you are a perfect fit for this retreat!  I also get a lot of people who have never attended retreats before, so let me just tell you a bit about what a retreat is, at least as I see it.  My retreats are a time and place for folks to both get away from the rigors of every day living, and a way to introduce new skills into the art of living.  These skills are things you will be able to use the rest of your life.  One of the advantages of going on retreat is that it allows for a new perspective.  Part of stuckness is that we see and do the same things every day.  Going to a new environment jump starts the creative process and you will begin to come up with new ideas.  This is the beginning of the creative process.  Then the fun begins.  There is a definite creative process in life.  If you are alive you are creating....wouldn't you rather be creating a life that you enjoy and that serves you well than the alternative?  That is what this retreat is about.

What will happen at the retreat?  You will arrive at St Mary's early Sunday afternoon.  Check in time is 1 pm and we begin at 3, so that is the window.  You will get checked in to your lovely room (St Mary's has awesome rooms with awesome art) and be able to familiarize yourself with your surroundings.
Our first session together as a group is a get acquainted session.  This is a great time for bonding, making new friends, and opening up to what wants to emerge during the weekend for you in your life.
We close that first session at 6 and meet for dinner at 7.   The rest of the evening is free time, to journal, rest, go for a walk, chat with folks.  We meet bright and early Saturday morning for breakfast at 8.  9 am we group together and meditate, then begin our next session, which lasts until noon.  12:30 is lunch, then free time to explore and play till 3 pm when we meet again for another session!  Dinner at 7, then rest.  I will be available during any of the free times for a private one-on-one chat if you desire, just let me know.  Sunday morning is breakfast at 8, then meditation, and closing ceremony.  I will have a gift for you!
Block out the date on your calendar and register NOW for this awesome gift to yourself!  You can register online, or....if you want to put a non-refundable deposit down to reserve your space, call me....530-906-9336.

Let's face it:  I don't live a structured life.  And I like it that way.  When I was a kid, and I was asking those kinds of "what do I want to do when I grow up" questions, I got all sorts of well meaning suggestions from the adults in my life who really didn't know any better.  They suggested things like medical assistant and secretary.

I have to admit, it was a bit shocking to hear such advice from folks who absolutely did not live inside a box. My father was a professional jazz musician!  I won't tell you what my mother did, but it involved lots of shady people...certainly not inside the box living.

What I knew was that while I had some talent as a vocalist, I didn't have the confidence to pursue it.  And I could have gone in my mom's direction, but I knew that way was paved with dragons that I had no desire to encounter any more than I already had.  And quite frankly, the thought of working in the same place every day, with the same people, doing the same things, gave me the heebee Jeebees.  I ended up running away in the middle of the night, driving to San Francisco with what I could fit in my little sports car, getting a job as a waitress, going to college and eventually, after much soul searching, knashing of teeth and years of an undeclared major, becoming a photojournalist.  I did that work for about a year, and I loved it.  But then the bottom fell out of my life.  I had to go take care of some personal things, and there went the photojournalism career.  When I finally surfaced again about a year later, feeling very fragile, I knew it was once again time to find work.  I got a job as...wait for it....a secretary.  It was the only thing I could find.  But after a few months of that, I had muscle twitches, high blood pressure and I was going crazy.  The doctor wanted to put me on blood pressure meds, I said no....what I was going to do instead was quit my job and start a photography business.  I still couldn't live in that box!

So I started my business and my blood pressure went down. It took about three years before that business was fully supporting me year round, but it ended up supporting me very well for about 25 years.  I did different things every day, went to different places every day, and met different people every day.  I loved it.

Then things began to change again, and I realized that it was time for me to redefine what I did for a living.  Today, I still don't live a structured life.  And I still like it that way.  I do different things every day, I see different people every day, and I go to different places every day.

And I'm noticing something:  there are a ton of people out there who also don't want to live in a box.  These are the people who are selling things like candles, oils, diets, home decor, skin products.  These folks usually have day jobs, but they are doing everything they can to support themselves in other ways, with the ultimate goal of quitting their day jobs.  These are the people who work to bring home a paycheck, who don't like what they are doing, but don't know how to get out of that box.  There are other folks too, who work part time at something:  the world is filled with part time photographers, part time coaches, part time widget makers, part time widget sellers.  These folks all have one thing in common, they want to live outside the box, but they don't really know how to go about doing it.  So they spend their weekends and nights, selling their widgets.

And I want to see those people succeed.  I want to see them be able to quit their day job!  I want to see them fly high and WAY outside the box!  I think it is time!

This is why I do the work I do.  If I can make a good full time living outside the box, so can you.

This is why I created the Creativity Retreat.  You see, living outside the box requires some skills and some beliefs and more than a little bit of faith, primarily faith in yourself.  It requires some creative living.  This is what I will teach at the retreat.

Take three days and I promise, you will have the skills needed to be more creative in your life.  You will learn how to live outside the box, and make a good living at it.

You will learn:

  • About the connection between your body and the rest of you, and how that physical issue might just be a way of trying to get your attention to live differently.
  • About the power inside of you that you can draw on anytime to live the most fulfilling life you can dream of.
  • And you will learn tools and skills that you can take home with you and apply to every area of your life, to always live the way you want!

Sign up now.  Block those days off in your calendar.....get the registration paid for, and get yourself to Virginia City on October 15, 16 and 17.  If you can't swing the registration in full, call me and put a deposit down to confirm your registration.  You will be glad you did, because it is the first step in a whole new way of living!


The week before last I got to facilitate a group of awesome people in the Death Valley Camping Retreat on Creativity.  This wonderful group sure did do some great work at the retreat, and they had fun too!

Part of the retreat experience, at least as I do them, is about having fun.  In addition to scheduling time to do the inner work necessary to create something new, participants also had time to rest, soak up the sun, or explore.

My next Creativity Retreat will be this summer!  We won't go to Death Valley again till spring of 2018;  I'm working on a wonderful location for the next retreat!  Stay tuned by subscribing to the blog!

 

 

Creativity isn't just about making artsy stuff, although it can be.  It is also about creating the life you wish to live.  The first step to creativity is to choose it.  Really.  Make a conscious decision to choose it.  Don't worry about what you are going to create.  Just choose creativity.

Then have some fun with it.  Just sit with the decision for a while, without even attempting to think about what action should follow.  Notice the objections that come up.  And then notice if anything new comes up.  A new way to do things.  A new way to speak.  Or a new idea.

That's what is trying to emerge in you!  Pay attention to that, and see what develops when you cultivate that new idea.

So...make a choice...choose creativity.  See what pops up.  Play with that.

And let me know how that goes!

I got the quote in the meme from research that I'm doing in preparation for a Creativity Retreat I'm doing in Death Valley in April.  It's going to be a camping retreat and you are invited!  All the details are in the store below, or on the page that is titled "Classes and Workshops and Speaking Engagements Oh My!"  I'm so excited about this retreat, and I hope you decide to join me!

 

NUTS:  Not Understanding True Self

Sometimes in life we base who and what we are on old outdated beliefs which were implanted in us by society, or by parental units, or simply by our own perceptions at the time.  And sometimes, who and what we are changes...but we never change those old outdated beliefs, and so we live a life filled with fear and uncertainty.  We are tired, out of balance, we don't take good care of ourselves and we feel ashamed, guilty or not quite right.

We are NUTS.

The opposite of NUTS is SANE:  Self Aware Now Enjoy

When we become self aware, we can enjoy life.  But only if our behavior matches our beliefs.  But self awareness is the first step.

How to do that?  There are so many helpful processes out there, ranging from the 12 steps to Byron Katie's The Work, to the Ladder of Inference to Fear to Faith.  Which one you use depends on which one you resonate with.  For example, I did not resonate at all with The Work, but I found the Ladder of Inference to be very helpful.

In future posts I will say a bit more about each of these processes, but for now, I hope you will find a way to experience SANE in your life, not NUTS.  And if you want some help, I've got a full calendar of workshops and classes coming up to facilitate SANE.  The next one is this Tuesday, March 14.  See details and register in the store below.

 

Today is March 4.....March Fourth....FORTH!

Are you marching forth today?

I love it when dates line up like this.  It gives me a time to play with the words a bit.  And it serves as a metaphor.

To march means to walk with a regular tread, in a deliberate manner.  When I was a kid, I played clarinet in a marching band.  I remember the parades...we would prepare ourselves by rehearsing the music, then rehearsing and marching at the same time.  Then the day would come when it was time to execute what we had learned and rehearsed.  We would put on the band uniforms and proceed to the staging area.  No matter what we were feeling or what the weather was, we marched.  And we marched towards a goal, the end of the parade.   During the parade I remember I wasn't thinking too much about the end goal.  I was thinking more about keeping in step and playing the right notes along the way.  One step and one note at a time.  Sometimes a little dance might be done.  Sometimes we marched in place so we didn't run into the group in front of us.  And I had my team members to support me, so if I somehow lost step I could glance to my right or left and see which foot needed to be forward.

I've found life to be a bit like this.....preparation, execution, focus and seeking support along the way.

We prepare not so much by rehearsing, but by visioning, dreaming, figuring out who we are and what we want.  Classes and coaching services are excellent for figuring this out.  Then we execute:  there might be a timeline, written out steps to take.  We keep our focus by using affirmations and meditation, and support comes in the form of talking with others, sharing what is going on with us.  And sometimes support comes in the form of resting, taking another class, reading a new book.

For me, the important part is the focus.  I sometimes lose my focus.  I get discouraged.  This is when the support is really important.  I use a coach to remind me of what my goal is. I use classes to learn new ways to reach my goals.  And sometimes I use classes because I've realized that I need a new goal.  Or a new way to reach my goal.

And I continue to march forward, no matter what.

Are you continuing your march?  Today might be a good day to review where you are in your own personal march, and adjust your steps as needed.

 

Ok.  I'm excited now.  I've got a lineup of workshops, classes and a retreat that is designed to ROCK YOUR WORLD!

Between now and June:  four workshops, one class and one retreat.  All are designed to do one thing and one thing only:  move you from a life in which you experience fear or limitation or frustration to a life in which you experience love and joy, no limits and easy flow.

Here they all are, on one graphic, for easy reference:

Topics on tap:  Balance and self care, creativity, meditation, success, forward movement and playtime!

Invest in one or invest in them all.  I will give you a hint:  there is a two-for-one special on the workshops at the end of the list.

 

 

 

 

I have learned that the old saying is true:  an unexamined life is worth very little.

Is your life working for you?  Do your days go smoothly, and things seem to fall into place easily?  If so, good for you!  But if life seems like a constant struggle, or you get sick all the time, or it seems like there is just one road block after another getting in the way of what you want to do, or there is a lot of drama, then consider that change begins within, and it begins with examining what your attitudes, beliefs and thoughts are up to.  For that is where the circumstances of your life are formed.  Things do not change from the outside in.  They change from the inside out.  In other words, you can't move, or switch jobs, or switch partners, and think that your life is going to change.  You have still brought you with you, wherever you go and whatever you do.  The change must begin within you, and it begins with examining what is going on in there.

Examine your thoughts, beliefs and attitudes, without shame, blame or guilt, and I guarantee your life will improve.  And if you want help doing so, contact me!

 

Let's face it, life is full of all kinds of stuff:  some we label as good, some we label as bad.  Today I want to talk about what we sometimes label as bad:  change or loss.  Loss happens.  So does change.  Relationships end.  Jobs and careers go away.  Things happen.  So often the tendency is to somehow make the feelings as a result of those losses go away.  We don't want to hurt.  In fact, there is a judgement about the hurting itself, as if there is something shameful or wrong about it.  We tell ourselves we shouldn't hurt, to put our big boy and girl panties on and buck up.  We try to hide it, deny it, medicate it, do anything except feel it.

When we do, all we do is form ugly scar tissue over the break.  We heal it, but we don't cure it.  We don't do our grief work.  Because of this, we are doomed to a life where we may not feel the hurt acutely anymore, but all of our reactions and decisions are consequently based on that one event.  We've got tunnel vision and it is very limiting.

Here are some examples:

  • The relationship ends, and instead of doing our inner work to learn the lesson, we immediately get into another one.
  • We experience a loss, and instead of going through a grieving process, we get a prescription.
  • Something "bad" happens, and instead of working through it, we get so busy that we have no time to thing.

I'd like to propose that there is a different, gentler way to do things, and it is also more rewarding in the long run.

The difference between a broken heart and a broken-open heart is profound.  We all have times and instances in which our hearts get broken.  We hurt.  Eventually we heal, somewhat, but it is never cured.  There is a difference between healing and curing.  Healing is temporary and very shallow. Curing is permanent and goes deep.  Healing only takes care of the surface wounds.  Curing changes us at deep levels, and such change is necessary for us to move into the next greatest expression of being.

A broken-open heart can be the way to a cure.  It is a doorway through which we can live a new and wonderful life.

If your heart is broken, I'd like to suggest that you do not medicate it, jump into another relationship, make yourself so busy you have no time to think, or any of the other things we typically do to make the bad feelings just go away.

Instead, feel them.  Acknowledge the grief and allow the process to happen.  Do the inner work, because a broken-open heart is a doorway into new ways of thinking and perceiving ourselves and life.  Consider getting support and help moving through the process

 

Life is about paradox.  Surrender to win.  What you resist persists.  Give to receive.  Accept a problem to solve it.  I will never forget the first time, very early in my spiritual journey, a mentor told me that I must surrender to win.  Fighter that I had been most of my life, it was extremely difficult for me to understand this concept.  I had a bias against traditional religious language back then and in my mind I thought I was surrendering to a male authority figure that was separate from me.  I wanted no part of that.  Eventually I moved into a place of surrendering to a process that promised wonderful things if I completed it, and that worked.

Which brings up another paradox of sorts.  One must go through something to get around it.  Take loss, for example.  It does absolutely no good, and sometimes harms, to not properly grieve a loss.  Rebound relationships are an excellent example of this.

Another paradox is that we must look at ourselves with love and acceptance, not shame and condemnation.  Those parts of ourselves that we find objectionable will only change if we love and accept them.  Shaming them and condemning them just makes them stronger.

What are you resisting today?   Is it persisting?

The beauty of living a life which contains a consistent and persistent practice of compassionate self inquiry is that it allows us to be aware of what is blocking us from our good, and with awareness comes the beautiful change that that moves us into the next greatest expression of our being.